Ownr makes the chaos of small business ‘less hard’

With a spike in start-ups, the RBC Ventures-backed entrepreneurship platform embraces the rush of getting off the ground.


Ownr, RBC Ventures’ small business registration and management platform, is looking to seize upon a surge of momentum with a new, tongue-in-cheek brand platform designed to build awareness of its product offering.

The platform, developed by Toronto-based agency The Garden, is called “Make Small Business Easy Less Hard” and centres on a series of one-shot spots that follow busy entrepreneurs as they run down how Ownr has helped them establish their businesses while chaos – from a skunk on a job site to an electrical photocopier fire – unfolds in the background.

The campaign, which also includes OOH, social and digital ads, is designed to capitalize on a rise in Canadian entrepreneurship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ownr saw a 70% increase in new business registrations between 2019 and 2020, along with a 102% increase in incorporations. Further, according to the company, one in three entrepreneurs say they are excited about the future.

“The effects of the pandemic made it scary to take risks and see opportunities clearly, but Canadian entrepreneurs saw things differently,” says Zaeem Sarwar, Ownr’s head of marketing. “They rose to the challenge and overcame new obstacles in order to follow their dreams and take control of their lives financially.”

The campaign humorously references many of the challenges that can arise, from collapsing retail displays to micromanaging clients.

Social_Make paper work_Barber“We wanted to create a campaign that demonstrated just how chaotic it can feel to own a small business,” explains Francheska Galloway-Davis, CD at The Garden, who adds that the goal was not to minimize the challenges and “chaos” of starting a business, but rather give them the confidence to take it on.

The campaign is running in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, and also includes video ads on connected TV, social and YouTube, as well as radio and Spotify commercials. The planning and buying was handled by Initiative.